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The global market for organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) materials intended for display panels posted double-digit growth at the end of the second half of 2019, marked by a continuing shift away from the currently dominant FMM RGB OLED sector toward the rival WOLED sector.  

Worldwide OLED revenue for the six-month period ending in December 2019 amounted to $600 million, up by a robust 24% from the first half last year, and up by an even stronger 30% increase if a year-over-year comparison is made.   

The OLED materials market will continue to expand this year even with the effects of the coronavirus considered, Omdia projections show for now, as indicated by the chart below.  

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Within the OLED materials market, the dominant sector was FMM RGB, which is also the name of the patterning technique utilizing fine metal masks to deposit red, green, and blue color components into high-resolution displays such as OLED panels, producing high-quality images as a result. Because RGB patterning is difficult to achieve on large-sized displays, FMM RGB is typically used for the smaller OLED displays deployed in smartphones.  

For the second half of 2019, the value of the FMM RGB market reached $458 million, or more than 75% of the total OLED materials market.  

Accounting for the remaining 25% of the market was WOLED or white OLED, with a value of $142 million. Taking its name after the white light emitted by the OLED panel utilizing the technology, WOLED is optimized for use in large-panel applications such as television screens. For years, South Korea’s LG Display, a part of the LG Electronics family of companies, has been the chief exponent of WOLED, deploying the technology in the company’ production of OLED TV panels, the leader in that market. More recently, however, rival Samsung Display Corp., a division of the giant Samsung Group conglomerate, has developed a counterpart technology it calls Quantum Dot (QD) OLED.  

With the involvement of SDC in the market, demand for WOLED/QD-OLED materials is projected to be strong moving forward, resulting in its share of the total OLED materials market rising to 38% by 2023. By then, FMM RGB will be in decline, having saturated the market.  

These and other findings are contained in the report, OLED Materials Market Tracker – Update H2 2019, which provides market analysis and forecasts of organic light-emitting materials that go into the making of OLED panels. The tracker also covers consumption of these materials by AMOLED panel makers and their manufacturing capabilities.  

The OLED materials market: manufacturers and consumers 

As of last year, the principal manufacturers of OLED materials included Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan; the South Korean makers Duk San Neolux, Samsung SDI, and LG Chemical; and New Jersey-based manufacturers Merck and Universal Display, as well as Dow Chemical from Michigan.  

The primary consumer of OLED materials in the second half of 2019 was Samsung Display, which devoured 60% of the total OLED materials market. The remainder was split among LG Display, China’s Beijing Optoelectronics or BOE; a smaller group of Chinese companies developing small to midsize AMOLED panels, including EDO, Tianma, GVO, Truly, CSOT, and Royole; AUO from Taiwan; and the Japanese entity known as JOLED, a partnership comprising Sony, Panasonic, Japan Display Inc. or JDI, and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan or ICNJ.  

The OLED Materials Market Tracker – Update H2 2019 is offered under Omdia’s Components & Devices research pillar. Omdia subscribers also have full access to our overall Displays research service, covering the research categories of Display Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Display Materials & Components, Large Displays, Small & Medium Displays, and Touch & Interface.